How often do you think about your nervous system? Most likely not all that regularly. As long as your body is working in the way that it should, you’ve no reason to think about how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending proper messages through the electrical pathways in your body. But you tend to pay more attention when something goes wrong and the nerves begin to misfire.
One specific disease known as Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease which normally affects the extremities can also have a pretty wide-scale affect on the overall nervous system. And there’s some evidence that implies that CMT can also lead to high-frequency hearing loss.
Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease, What is it?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a set of inherited conditions. The protective sheathing around the nerves malfunction due to a genetic condition.
The result is that the signals sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t travel all that well. Functionally, this can cause both a loss in motor function and a loss of sensation.
A blend of genetic factors usually results in the expression of symptoms, so CMT can be present in several variations. For the majority of people who have CMT, symptoms start in the feet and go up into their arms. And, high-frequency hearing loss, strangely, has a high rate of occurrence in those with CMT.
A Link Between Hearing Loss And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve
The connection between CMT and hearing loss has always been colloquially supported (that is, everybody knows someone who has a story about it – at least within the CMT community). And it was difficult to realize the connection between loss of sensation in the legs and problems with the ears.
A scientific study firmly established the connection just recently when a group of scientists evaluated 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The results were rather conclusive. Almost everyone who has CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing exams with flying colors. But all of the participants showed loss of hearing when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually across the moderate levels). high-frequency hearing loss, according to this research, is likely to be linked to CMT.
What is The Cause of Hearing Loss And How Can it be Addressed?
The connection between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT could, at first, seem puzzling. But everything in your body, from your eyebrows to your toes, relies on the proper functioning of nerves. That also goes for your ears.
The theory is, CMT impacts the cochlear nerve so sounds in the high-frequency range aren’t able to be interpreted. Anybody with this type of hearing loss will have difficulty hearing specific sounds, including people’s voices. Trying to hear voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly difficult.
Hearing aids are usually used to deal with this type of hearing loss. There’s no known cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can select the exact frequencies to boost which can offer considerable help in combating high-frequency hearing loss. Most modern hearing aids can also do well in loud environments.
Many Factors Behind Hearing Loss
Experts still aren’t completely sure why CMT and hearing loss seem to co-exist quite so often (beyond their untested theory). But hearing aid tech provides a clear treatment for the symptoms of that hearing loss. So scheduling an appointment to get a fitting for hearing aids will be a good decision for individuals who suffer from CMT.
Hearing loss symptoms can arise for a wide variety of reasons. In many cases, loss of hearing is brought about by excessive exposure to harmful noises. Blockages can be another cause. It also appears that CMT is another possible cause.